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Algoma University College

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Algoma University College

Coordinates: 46°30′12.86″N 84°17′56.08″W / 46.5035722°N 84.2989111°W / 46.5035722; -84.2989111

Algoma University
Motto "Truth, Knowledge, and Wisdom"
Established 1967
Type Public
President Rick Myers
Academic staff 52
Undergraduates 1300
Location Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Campus Urban
Tag line Small University, Big Education
Mascot Thunderbirds
Affiliations AUCC, CBIE

Algoma University (Algoma U) is a postsecondary institution in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, offering undergraduate university degrees in more than 30 academic programs. The student population has increased substantially in recent years and Algoma now has about 1300 students.

From its founding in 1967 until June 18, 2008, Algoma was an affiliated college of Laurentian University in Sudbury and was officially known as Algoma University College.

The enabling legislation is the Algoma University Act, 2008.[1]


Shingwauk Hall: From "Teaching Wigwam" to Residential School

The original vision for Shingwauk Hall in the early 19th century came from Chief Augustin Shingwaik, the chief of the Ojibway people, as he felt "that the future Ojibway needed to learn the white man's academic method of education in order to survive in what was becoming a 'predominately non-native world with non-native values'".[2] While Chief Shingwauk's vision of a teaching wigwam for his people would not come to fruition in his lifetime, a residential school would eventually receive funding in 1872 from the combined efforts of Chiefs Augustin Shingwauk and Buhkwujjenene Shingwauk (Chief Shingwauk's sons) and the Anglican Missionary, Rev. Edward Francis Wilson.[3] The initial building was constructed in Garden River First Nation in 1873 and housed 16 students. It tragically burnt down 6 days later. A new building was erected in Sault Ste. Marie in 1875.[4] The residential school provided religious instruction and occupational training for Indian youth.

Shingwauk Hall would eventually become part of the broader movement across Canada to assimilate Canada's First Nations peoples, straying far from Chief Shingwauk's vision for a teaching wigwam. Students in the residential school system endured poor living conditions, physical and emotional abuse and segregation from their own family members.[5]

Shingwauk Hall, presently the main building of Algoma University College, was erected in 1935 after it was deemed the original building had deteriorated beyond repair.[6]

Algoma University College

The desire to establish an undergraduate Liberal Arts College in Sault Ste. Marie originated as a broad citizens’ movement in the 1950s. In October 1964, the Algoma College Association was incorporated by Letters Patent of the Province of Ontario. One year later, Algoma College was established as a non-sectarian institution affiliated with Laurentian University. In September 1967, Algoma College opened its doors to its first students. Part-time enrolment expanded to over 1000 students by 1969-70. The year 1971 marked a significant turning point in the College’s history in respect to both program and facilities. In recognition of the rapid maturation of the College, the Department of University Affairs authorized the expansion of full-time in Arts to the full three years. In addition, in September 1971, the College was relocated to its own campus acquiring by lease, Shingwauk Hall and the Shingwauk site. In 1975, with the assistance of a grant from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, the college purchased Shingwauk Hall and 37 acres (15 ha) of land surrounding the buildings.[7]

In 1975 the college purchased Shingwauk Hall, the building that housed the aforementioned residential school, and 37 acres (15 ha) of land including property along the St. Mary's River front. In 1989 the Arthur A. Wishart library opened, followed by expansion in 1992 with the opening of the George Leach Centre. Student residence buildings were constructed in 1995 and later expanded in 2001.

2005 was another significant year for the school, as a $6 million technology wing saw expansion unprecedented in the school's young past. Included in the wing are state-of-the-art technology and computer labs, the 'Great West Life Amphitheatre' (a 250+ seat lecture hall), a new student centre, cafeteria, faculty offices, a bookstore and campus shop, and a new pub.[8]

Algoma's independence from Laurentian University was first proposed in 1994. The original proposal would have seen the school renamed Shingwauk University, but was not ultimately pursued by the MTCU.

On May 31, 2007, the government of Ontario announced that it would introduce legislation to charter Algoma as a fully independent university. After the government passed the Algoma University Act, it was given royal assent by David Onley, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, on June 18, 2008.[9] Nipissing University in North Bay, also formerly an affiliated college of Laurentian University, similarly received status as an independent university in 1992.

Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig is the name of a federated institution dedicated to Anishnaabe education.


Algoma provides 30 plus programs - three and four year bachelor's degrees in disciplines such as social work, community development, English, history, psychology, sociology, biology, business, computer science and fine arts.

The university also offers extension programming in Timmins, Brampton and St. Thomas.


The Algoma Conservatory of Music, which offers music lessons to about 1000 students in the community, has a working relationship with Algoma. Concurrently with Algoma's charter as an independent university, Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, an Anishinaabe cultural and linguistic federated school opened in the fall of 2008.[10]

While Algoma does not currently offer any full joint programs with Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, students at both institutions may register for some courses at the other school as credit toward their degrees from their home institutions.

The university has diploma-to-degree agreements with Cambrian College, Confederation College, George Brown College, Humber College, Mohawk College, Northern College, Sheridan College, Sault College and Seneca College, as well as a student exchange agreement with the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.[11]


The Algoma University Libraries is a member of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Ontario Council of University Libraries and is a contributor to Open Content Alliance.[12]


Academic and administrative buildings

Shingwauk Hall and Adjacent Wings (East, West and North-West)

Shingwauk Hall is currently used to house various classrooms, as well as administrative and faculty offices. It is connected on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd levels by links to the newer East, West and North-West wings that house further classrooms, research space and offices.[6] The second floor of Shingwauk Hall (SH200's) houses various student services, including Co-Op and Career Services, the Learning Center, Student Advisors and the ESL Program.[13]

Essar Convergence Centre

In 2009 Algoma received more than $16 million to build a biosciences and technology convergence centre. Ground was broken for the new building in September 2009.[14] Along with state-of-the-art classroom and laboratory space for students and professors, the building is home to various research institutes, including the Health Informatics Research Institute, the Invasive Species Research Institute, the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and Algoma Games for Health.[15] The building opened its doors to students in September 2011, and was officially named the Essar Convergence Centre in a ceremony including David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, in August, 2012.

Brampton Programming

Algoma University at Brampton offers accelerated business degrees designed specifically for college graduates. Students can choose to pursue a general BBA or specialize in accounting, human resources or marketing. "Diploma-to-Degree" students may earn their degree in as little as 20 months. Algoma at Brampton is located at Market Square Business Centre.

St. Thomas Programming

Algoma offers extension programming in St. Thomas, Ontario.[16] The first two years of select Bachelor of Arts programs are offered on the block plan, where students take one course at a time. After these two years it is expected that the students will move to Algoma's main campus in Sault Ste. Marie.[17][18]

Timmins Programming

Algoma University at Timmins offers bachelor's degrees in Social Work and Community Development on the campus of Northern College. These programs are designed for diploma-to-degree or university transfer students.

Athletics and recreation

George Leach Centre

Algoma has a 39,000-square-foot (3,600 m2) sports and athletics centre, the George Leach Centre (GLC). The GLC has three regulation court surfaces, which accommodate badminton, basketball, volleyball, and tennis. One court has been specially designed for indoor tennis and the gymnasium features a 1/9th mile indoor walk/jog track. The facility also includes two international-sized squash courts, an aerobics/multipurpose room with a suspended wooden floor which meets international standards for aerobics/dance, and a weight training/aerobic machine room with state-of-the-art equipment.[19]

Student Centre

The Speak Easy is the university's cafeteria and pub. It features a state-of-the-art sound system, various televisions, a large projection screen and a licensed patio.[20]


Algoma U has three residence facilities: The Dr. Lou Lukenda Dormitory, the Spirit Village Townhouse Residence and the Downtown Residence. All residences are equipped with wireless high-speed internet.

Dr. Lou Lukenda Dormitory

Built in September 2003, the facility contains 45 single bedrooms. Each bedroom is fully furnished with a bed, desk, dresser, closet and telephone and shares a common bathroom with one other bedroom.

Spirit Village Townhouse

The entire complex consists of 15 townhouses, housing 75 students. Each townhouse unit has five single bedrooms, two bathrooms, a common kitchen and living room.[21]

Downtown residence

Opened in September 2010, the downtown residence is a converted local hotel landmark. Each room is fully furnished with a single bed, dresser, closet, telephone, mini-fridge, television and private bathroom. There are shared kitchen facilities and common rooms in various areas throughout the building.[22]

New Residence

With construction starting in late 2011, a new residence building opened at Algoma University for the start of the 2012 school year. Housing over 96 students, the New Dorms is fully furnished with an open concept area, a single bed, a large dresser and a desk with a working telephone and high speed wireless internet connection. The student shares a bathroom with another room mate of the same sex. There is a shared common room on ever floor of the complex with working microwaves and HD TV with satellite.[23]

Student life

Algoma University participates in the Ontario College’s Athletic Association (OCAA) with men’s and women’s basketball, curling, indoor soccer and cross-country running. Both basketball teams compete in the OCAA’s Western Division.[24] While Algoma teams currently compete in the OCAA the university will join Ontario University Athletics (the OUA) in 2013.[25] The university's student newspaper is The Sentient. The university does not currently have a campus radio station, although several students and faculty participate in the production of Thunderbird Six, a series of podcasts about the university. Some individual Algoma students have also volunteered for WLSO, the college radio station of Lake Superior State University.

The students are represented by the Algoma University Students' Union (AUSU).[26] AUSU is local 82 of the Canadian Federation of Students. Anishinaabe students of Algoma University have an active Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students' Association (SASA) and are represented on the Algoma University Student Union executive, the Anishinaabe Peoples Council (an advisory committee of the Board of Governors) and the Cross Cultural Committee.[27]

Algoma also publishes an annual literary journal, Algoma Ink.

See also

Engineering portal
Science portal
Arts portal


External links

  • Algoma University
  • thunderbird six, the AU podcast
  • Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
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